Rep. Ilhan Omar (D- MN) backed Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez’s (D-NY) claim that migrant detention centers are modern-day “concentration camps” during an interview with Public Radio International Thursday.
Omar definitively stated that “people are being put in camps” and defended Ocasio-Cortez’s assessment, accusing her critics of conflating concentration camps with death camps.
And when you think about the definition, if we separate it from death camps, I would say these are camps and people are being concentrated in them. And so that’s the general definition. I think a lot of people are conflating what a death camp looks like or a specific removal of people. These people are coming to the border. We are removing them from the border. We are placing them in camps. Some of them are being removed from communities and being put in what we’re calling detention centers — but are essentially camps. There has to be a way for us to have this conversation without calling people names and accusing them of things when they are just having a general honest conversation on how detrimental this is.
Omar did not go as far as describing migrant detention facilities as “death camps,” but she insinuated that it was just the beginning of the process.
“When you talk about the process of de-humanizing people so that you can exterminate them, there is a process,” she explained, accusing the Trump administration of engaging in dangerous rhetoric.
“When you are constantly engaging in the kind of rhetoric this administration has engaged in — when it comes to immigrants and people who are seeking asylum and refugees — we have to be alarmed,” she said.
“It is very worrisome. When we say ‘never again,’ that means we have to be vigilant that that doesn’t happen under our watch as we stay politically correct and try to find the proper words to use or even worse look the other way,” she added.
Ocasio-Cortez sparked the political dispute during an Instagram live video streamed Monday evening.
“That is exactly what they are. They are concentration camps,” she said of migrant detention centers.
“The fact that concentrations camps are now an institutionalized practice in the Home of the Free is extraordinarily disturbing and we need to do something about it,” she continued.
She further explained that she was only interested in talking to people who were “concerned enough with humanity to say that ‘never again’ means something.”
“I don’t use those words to just throw bombs,” she added. “I use that word because that is what an administration that creates concentration camps is. A presidency that creates concentration camps is fascist, and it’s very difficult to say that.”
On Thursday, Dominik Tarczyński, a member of Poland’s Parliament, sent a letter to the New York lawmaker, inviting her to fly to Poland to “study the concentration camps here for real.”
With this letter, I am formally inviting @AOC to come to Poland,where Adolf Hitler set up the worst chain of concentration camps the world has ever seen, so that she may see that scoring political points with enflamed rhetoric is unacceptable in our contemporary Western societies pic.twitter.com/ivOTfmiCfo
— TARCZYŃSKI Dominik (@D_Tarczynski) June 20, 2019